Free Services for Seniors
It’s hard enough to make ends meet sometimes—especially when you live on a fixed income or care for someone who does. So when unexpected expenses hit, it can feel like your world might crumble under the pressure.
To help make life a little easier, we’ve listed sources of free services for seniors—from respite care to legal help to transportation. Some (not all) have income or other requirements. But hopefully, if one door won’t open for you, another will.
Here are some good starting places to find both national and local services
- Your local Area Agency on Aging—a clearinghouse of information for older people.
- Senior Resource Panels—free meetings sponsored by Preferred Care at Home in which local experts in various fields answer your questions and direct you to community resources.
- Eldercare Locator, from the Administration on Aging.
- BenefitsCheckUp, to see whether you’re getting the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support Line, (855) 260-3274, to make sure you know about VA benefits.
Free Respite Care
When someone stays with your loved one while you take a break, that’s called respite care. Professional sources include in-home care and adult day-care. But you may also be able to find volunteer services. Here are some options:
- Caregiver Relief Fund, which provides vouchers for professional respite care. (You must have been a caregiver for at least a year and make less than $80,000 a year.)
- Senior Companions, whose volunteers are seniors themselves.
- Places of worship and service clubs (though potential drawbacks include lack of training and background checks).
- Family and friends who may want to help and not know what you need.
Help With Legal Needs, Taxes and Benefits
Here are a few of the places you can look for free legal and financial services:
- Center for Elder Rights Advocacy, for legal assistance.
- A local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, for issues involving a senior-living facility—including disputes, complaints and concerns about care.
- AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, for tax preparation.
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program, for Medicare-related questions.
Also, various organizations help veterans apply for free for the Aid and Attendance application. (Choose one that’s on the up-and-up though.)
Free Aging-in-Place Services
The following organizations provide services that help people live in their home for as long as possible:
- Senior centers and public-transportation offices, which may offer free rides for older people. (For cancer patients, the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program gives rides to and from treatment.)
- Meals on Wheels, which delivers free meals in some areas. (Senior centers sometimes offer free on-site meals as well.)
Also, at Preferred Care at Home, we offer free home-safety checks to help guard against a serious fall.
Local businesses, charities and community service organizations may have volunteers for respite care, home improvement or even pet care. And for more helpful organizations, check out “10 Charities for Elderly People.”
At Preferred Care at Home, we believe everyone who wants to stay home should be able to, so we strive to keep our professional services affordable. We hope these resources help as well.
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